Grady Patterson is an honorable man. His longtime service to
However, the election this year is not about the past thirty-plus years, it is about the next four years. At age 82, Patterson is seeking to serve as Treasurer until age 86. I do not contend that Patterson can not serve the next four years. However, one way to prove that he can would be to debate Thomas Ravenel.
Ravenel is long on sound bites and short on substance. I think he tries too hard to be Ronald Reagan, when there can only be one Ronald Reagan. That said, there is little doubt that he has the health and ability to serve out a full term. Now that Ravenel has made clear he will not abandon the post to run for United States Senate, we can be assured he will at least serve a full term if elected.
An 82 year old candidate faces a different situation. Voters need to be reassured that he can do the job. The best way to reassure the voters is to debate Ravenel and make other public appearances.
The excuses for not debating coming out of Treasurer’s spokesman’s Trav Robertson’s office are almost comedic.
Also, the assertion by some Democrats that Senator Thurmond did not debate Elliot Close in 1996 and that is comparable, is wrongheaded. It shows marked ignorance of Mr. Thurmond. Thurmond did not debate anyone after his bitter campaign with Olin D. Johnston in 1950. Their debate in Newberry almost came to blows. Though I do not know what thoughts Thurmond had about such things, I believe it can be assumed that he recognized his temper and saw it best to conduct campaigns without debates. It should also be noted that Thurmond’s 1996 campaign was vigorous. He went around the state making public appearances and speaking. I know that because I was part of that campaign and saw firsthand Thurmond in action. The Senator did not hide behind spokesmen or the like. He spoke to party and community club meetings and made the rounds, so to speak.
Indeed, I did not have the same feelings about Thurmond in 1996 that I have now about Patterson. I am sad to watch this unfold. Grady Patterson is a man I admire and respect, without apology to any of my fellow Republicans who might criticize me for such. I hate to see this last campaign of his unfold as it is. Patterson’s name and reputation still might carry the day in November, but even if it does, this campaign appears to be one too many.
As a basketball fan, I offer an analogy from the NBA. Most people, even casual fans, know of Michael Jordan.
What boggles my mind is why the Democrats in South Carolina, who surely must be bigger fans of Mr. Patterson than I am, don’t have the same pain watching Patterson go one campaign season too many. Indeed, why did they talk Patterson into this last ride, when he had nothing to prove and could have gone out on top, so to speak?
Maybe Mr. Patterson will debate Ravenel and clean his clock in the debate and make me look like a fool. But, I doubt it. It is my guess that for someone who respects Mr. Patterson, this campaign will be almost too painful to watch.